Hollywood has gone by a plethora of nicknames over the past few decades. Tinseltown, La La Land, and most recently due to a local prankster, Hollyweed. One of the more appropriate aliases to call the Los Angeles area is Hollyweird. Oh, Hollyweird. Obviously, a lot of weird stuff goes down in that screwy bally hooey Hollyweird, hence the name. When we reference the weird stuff, that suggestion does not even take into account all of the crazy little mishaps that can be found at Hollywood parties, audition sessions, club scenes, networking events, etc. Some of the craziest, weirdest, and at times scariest moments in Hollywood occur in between scenes on the movie set. Due to the secretive and exclusive nature shared by those living in the Hollywood lifestyle, it is rare that us regular folk ever get to hear about that sort of craziness. Considering just half of the weird things that can possibly take place on a movie set, we probably would not even believe most of those so-called crazy Hollywood stories. Thankfully, there have been instances where some of the creepier images which take place on a movie set get photographed by someone on the set. We have compiled a list of 15 of the creepiest images that have been taken in between shooting the film.
Appropriately, most of the moments found behind the scenes as they are covered in this list are horror movies. Which makes sense. When a filmmaker goes out of their way to make a creepy film, it becomes hard for the cast and crew to shed that creepy atmosphere long after the cameras have stopped rolling. There are a few movies that are outside of the horror genre on this list, but for the most part, horror is the go-to genre. This list wasn’t made specifically for horror, but it just so happened that a lot of creepy stuff went down behind the scenes on the set of horror films.
In this case, it is Michael Myers’ mask more than anything else that makes this image so creepy. In fact, the mask is one of the major reasons why the first Halloween installment felt so creepy. The same goes for this one photograph taken in between shooting scenes. Here you see director John Carpenter monitoring his surroundings to make sure that everything is prepared for the next scene to be filmed. With actor Nick Castle ominously lurking in the background in full costume, he looks like he is in full on Michael mode. This looks less like a behind the scenes photo and more like a scene from a Halloween movie where a victim thinks he’s evaded Michael after finding his knife when little does he know Michael is lurking right behind him. That actually sounds like it would make for an interesting, suspenseful scene. Maybe I should, I don’t know, write movies or something.
14. A Nightmare on Elm Street
This one is just weird. Creepy, of course, but above all else, weird. Maybe it is the fact that we are seeing two shirtless guys (and a hard to see third participant) lifting a bloodied and limp body (rest assured, it is merely a dummy) up in the air to paint the ceiling with its blood. Maybe it is the fact that after seeing the scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street where Tina (played by Amanda Wyss) gets ragdolled across the ceiling so many times, it is weird to finally see a behind the scenes shot suggesting how the magic trick was pulled off. Maybe it’s weird because this looks more like a cross between a virgin sacrifice and a European Chippendales routine. Whatever the reason is that anyone may find this photograph weird, I think we can all agree that this image here is both weird and creepy.
13. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
Apart from the wacky slapstick humor and the gory horror, the best aspects of Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (and the Evil Dead franchise overall) come from the impressive practical effects. These effects look so eerily well done that it is hard not to get goosebumps just from looking at it. The best effects came during the production of the Deadites. Some of the best work in the films went into making the Deadites look as menacing as possible, especially when it came to doing the makeup work for Deadite Linda. This is the actress who played Linda in Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, Denise Bixler, as she smiles for the camera in between takes. Despite not being in character at this instance, Bixler retains her character creepy looks. The disarming smile, the sharp chompers for teeth, the dark red skin, and the dead eyes of a Deadite make Bixler look as creepy in this candid shot as she does in the film.
For what it was, Mama was a modest hit and praised by many as a terrifying romp to boot. This was mostly due to the unforgettable appearance of the villainous and treacherous creatures that terrorized a cast led by Jessica Chastain. It is not often when a monster created by CGI can evoke enough terror to make you forget that you are watching a computer generated image on screen, but the character of Mama does just that whenever you see her. From her dead eyes to her distorted and overgrown jawline to her long and spiked fingers, Mama is a scary sight, but her motion capture counterpart may look even scarier. When Javier Botet did mo-cap work for the character, he was put in practical prosthetic makeup to look the part for the actors looking at him while filming scenes. In mo-cap form, Mama’s pale skin is replaced by a decayed reddish coloring while her viciously flowing locks are gone altogether in favor of headband that’s straight out of Professor X’s Cerebro. If Mama looked more like Botet’s mo-cap get-up, the film would have been even scarier.
11. Three Men and a Baby
While films from the horror genre dominate most spots on this list, this image places Three Men and a Baby as a worthy entry on the list despite being such an unlikely one. Though I will admit that this is cheating because this is a scene from the movie opposed to a behind the scenes shot. Still, this shot from the final cut of the movie was creepy enough to spawn its very own urban legend that continues to live on 30 years after the film’s release. If nothing else, the urban legend that lies behind the scenes is worth talking about. In this scene, Jack (played by Ted Danson) and his mother (played by Celeste Holm) walk by a window where a mysterious person creeps from behind the curtain. Audiences love to speculate that this is the ghost of a little boy who died in the apartment years before the filmmakers started filming, but really, it’s just a miniature cardboard cutout of Ted Danson in a tuxedo. Though it doesn’t make the scene any less creepy when you notice random eyes leering at Jack and his mom from behind a curtain.
10. Pet Sematary
It seems like just by being young, children can be really creepy. Perhaps it is because they are far too young to know that they should not be so creepy and they do not know any better. Or perhaps they are naturally just creepy little b*st@rds. Whatever the reason is, kids have a tendency to scare the bejesus out of us, more often than not. A child’s creepiness tends to be amped all the way up to 11 whenever they appear in a horror film. Pet Sematary is no exception and neither is child actor Miko John Hughes in his role as Gage Creed. In the film, Creed is a little boy who dies in a tragic accident and after his father brings him back to life via burying him in a resurrection site, the boy goes on a murderous rampage upon his return. You think that’s creepy? Just take a look at the boy in question on the set in this photo snarling at the camera. What makes this even creepier is that it is so hard to tell whether this is the child actor in makeup or if it is some realistic looking production prop.
9. Jeepers Creepers
Most people who have seen the 2001 cult classic, Jeepers Creepers, will tell you that the creepiest part of the movie came during the movie’s climax where we get to see Justin Long‘s character, Darry, after having his eyeballs yanked out by the menacing monster, The Creeper. Somehow, seeing the life-sized model that was used for the film makes that imagery all the more unsettling. When we get so up close, and personal with the mannequin here, we get a better look at just how life-like this thing is for a dummy. Maybe it is because this model has since been refurbished and repaired since post production on the film ended, but even in the film, the dummy looked almost too real. The more detailed and realistic a model looks—especially with its missing eyes—the more it gives us the heebie jeebies. Or, perhaps even more appropriately, the jeepers creepers.
8. Crimson Peak
There is a big reason why Guillermo Del Toro is considered by cinephiles to be the modern king of movie monsters. It is because Del Toro puts just as much thought and effort into the film production’s costume and makeup as he does the film itself. Whether your favorite prosthetic extravaganza from Del Toro happens to be Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, or The Devil’s Backbone, Del Toro always delivers with creepy imagery. The most recent addition to his filmography, Crimson Peak, is no exception. After the film hit theaters, Del Toro thanked the fans for supporting his project by posting a slew of behind the scenes photos of the ghosts that appeared in the film. Not only do these candid pics remind us just how much intricate detail was put into creating these creatures on behalf of the makeup department, but it also reminds us just how disturbing these things look up close.
7. Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
It can be a little bit unsettling to see actors in costume doing normal things on the movie set. When they are in costume, all you can see is the monstrous character that they play and for that reason, everything they do in between scenes will have a sinister connotation to it. Take this image of Doug Bradley in his Pinhead outfit while he holds a baby on the set of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. No idea whose baby it is (apparently, her name’s April), which makes this slightly more worrisome. Nothing wrong with Doug Bradley holding a baby, but when we see this picture, we do not see Bradley holding a baby. We see Pinhead holding a baby, which is all types of wrong. Anyone familiar with the kind of character that Pinhead is in the Hellraiser franchise will know that Pinhead can’t be up to any good if he’s brought an evil baby into his devilish plans.
6. Son of Frankenstein
When people think about the son of Victor Frankenstein and his Monster, they immediately think back to the classic 1974 comedy, Young Frankenstein. What many people do not know is that Young Frankenstein was based on another classic called Son of Frankenstein. While Son of Frankenstein is much more of a serious cinematic endeavor than Young Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein is nevertheless a forgotten gem worthy of praise. It is suspenseful, thrilling, and in many ways, creepy. The creep factor also occurred off set as we see this picture of Basil Rathbone and Boris Karloff. Respectively, they play Frankenstein’s son, Baron Wolf von Frankenstein, and Frankenstein’s Monster. While both are still in costume, Karloff sat on the steps eating a snack (looks like pizza) and Rathbone plays dead. Oddly enough, with their film personas in mind, The Monster looks like he just killed someone and is now watching his fallen victim on the ground. If you keep the context of the film in mind and completely forget that a Monster is eating pizza, this is kind of creepy.
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street
There were a lot of creepy shots taken from the set of the first A Nightmare Elm Street alone. For a film about a child murderer (and implied child molester), you wouldn’t expect anything less than creepy going on during filming, but this shot right here can arguably take the cake for being the creepiest image not from the film itself. Remember that one dream that Nancy had in the movie where she saw Tina’s corpse standing upright right before a centipede spews from its mouth? Well, this is the mannequin model that the filmmakers used so that Amanda Wyss did not have to actually put a centipede into her mouth and then regurgitate it. Even minus the centipede, the model gives off this frightening vibe for its lifeless and pale facial expression that fits perfectly with its single bloody tear streaming from its right eye. It makes for such a disturbing sight.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street
This particular behind the scenes image of Robert Englund peeling off his Freddy Krueger makeup can easily be mistaken for an actual scene from any film in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. In fact, this photo reveals the “I’ve got the brains…” scene from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 where Freddy peels skin from the back of his skull. As spine chilling as that scene was to watch, there is something about this photo taken on the set of the very A Nightmare on Elm Street that puts it up there with some of creepiest images from the franchise. The fact that Englund maintains Freddy’s jovial and sinister grin as he sheds the remnants of his character is probably what makes it so eerie. The imagery is so creepy that it immerses you in its atmosphere long enough that you don’t even notice that there is a stage hand standing and laughing right behind Englund.
Perhaps this is cheating because this is more of a miniseries than a singular feature length film, but let us make a happy exception for the fact it is an on-set photo that is worth seeing and talking about. Thanks to how unsettling the makeup and costume combo which Tim Curry dons throughout the miniseries, we can take any behind the scenes photo from the set of It and the photo will feel just as creepy as the series itself. However, this photo might be the creepiest of the bunch. Not only because of how drastic in a change of setting it is in seeing Pennywise under an umbrella while smoking a spliff, but because of how drastic the change in Pennywise’s body language is. It is scary enough when we see Pennywise as his usual rambunctious self while practically bouncing off the walls in glee. He’s even scarier when the playful demeanor drops and all that is left is a deadly serious exterior to match his disarmingly cold personality. When a clown stops smiling, you know you’re in trouble.
2. The Dark Knight
In The Dark Knight, The Joker was always defined by his make-up. Or perhaps, more appropriately, his war paint. The Joker appears in that film only one time without his face paint, which is during the scene where he shoots Commissioner Gordon while disguised as a policeman. However brief the moment is, this instance felt particularly eerie because of the absence of the paint that we have grown to associate The Joker with over the course of the film. Up until this point, we were conditioned to believe that whenever we saw this face paint, we knew that danger was approaching and destruction was nearby. In this scene, there is no paint in sight, yet evil struck without warning. This is what makes this behind the scenes photo of Heath Ledger being filmed right before the film’s opening bank heist. A paintless Joker only holds a mask, and yet, this still feels like a calm before an inevitable storm.
Imagine peeking around a corner in your local neighborhood and locking eyes with this thing. This “thing” happens to be Max Schreck taking a break on the set of what would later be known as one of the most influential films in all of cinema, Nosferatu. Schreck played the title character, a vampire. What makes this image and the film itself all the more terrifying is the urban legend that claims that Schreck himself was a real life vampire. The 2000 horror-comedy, Shadow of the Vampire, tried to add context to the fictitious mythology with a meta-fiction plotline, but judging by this image alone, we don’t need much convincing to believe that Schreck was a vampire based on the cold, dead stare he gives the camera while in makeup. That is if it’s not more than makeup. This image is one of the rare behind the scenes photos taken on the set and also one of the creepier ones. Ironically enough, the creepiest image from the set of the 1922 horror classic came when film cameras stopped rolling.